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Historic Renewal

Articles: Historic Renewal

Volunteer Park Conservatory, 1914. Photo: courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archive
Volunteer Park sits atop the highest point of Seattle’s Capitol Hill with sweeping views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains—a jewel in the city’s parks system. A loop drive and winding trails designed by the Olmsted Brothers was added in 1904–05, with trees and plantings laid out in their traditional naturalistic style.

The Birth of a Beauty
Seattle residents wanted a botanical conservatory the likes of which they had seen in Europe and at the 1909 Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held on what are today the grounds of the University of Washington. Volunteer Park Conservatory, also designed by the Olmsted Brothers, was completed in 1912 and modeled after the famed Crystal Palace in London.
The conservatory was erected from a $5,000 glasshouse kit from Hitchings & Company, a New York company in partnership with the famed Lord & Burnham Company. The finished structure contained a 6,800-square-foot public house as well as 12,000 square feet of greenhouse and production area for propagation, growing, and primping plant...


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